The Archbishop of Guatemala, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, called on the faithful in that country not to reduce Christmas to the mere “exchanging of gifts” and to keep in mind that “Christ must be the irreplaceable and only focus of our Christmas celebrations.”
In his pastoral exhortation for Advent and Christmas, the archbishop stated, “It is not possible to reduce it to an occasion for extraordinary purchases, to the exchanging of gifts, to a children’s festivity or a simple excuse for profane celebrations.”
He called on Christians to “see the time of Advent as a spiritual journey towards Christmas and to not allow it to be swallowed up by the consumerist atmosphere of the age.”
The cardinal said nativity scenes should be turned into “small domestic altars, places of payer, reflection and great spiritual content.” He also encouraged Guatemalans to be austere in their celebrations for Christmas, in “imitation of Christ, who was born, lived and died in poverty.” “A good Christian must never fall into the claws of a consumerist society.”
“To consider superfluous material things as necessary and to acquire them at any cost is a new form of slavery,” he added.
“May all of us find in this celebration another reason to be consistent with our faith in our personal, family and social lives,” the cardinal stated.